In the politics of abortion, Christians frequently resort to common ground arguments. Up to a point, there’s nothing wrong with that. To work within the democratic system, we need to persuade as many voters as we can.
However, use of common ground arguments shouldn’t monopolize the terms of the debate. For one thing, it’s important for Christians to be conscious of our own Christian reasons for opposing abortion. When we keep framing the issue in terms of common ground, it’s easy to lose sight of that.
Of course, the stock objection is that Christian arguments are useless in the political arena because they are only persuasive to fellow Christians. But that’s unduly blinkered.
It’s important for unbelievers to know how Christians reason. Indeed, that’s an aspect of evangelism. If we never tell then what we think and why we think it, how can we ever expect to win any converts to the faith?
Instead of framing the debate exclusively in terms of the “personhood” of the “fetus,” let’s consider the issue in more theological terms: the gift of life.
In Scripture, children are a gift from God. And a very precious gift at that.
So if God gives us a gift, how should we treat his gift? Should we destroy it? Is that any way to treat the gift of life? Is that anyway to treat his gift of children?
Suppose a friend gives you a potted plant as a gift. It doesn’t look like much at the time. But if you plant it and water it and fertilize it, it will grow into a wonderful flowering shrub. Fragrant and lovely to behold.
Would you toss the potted plant in the dumpster because, at the time you receive it, the plant was underdeveloped? I hope not.
For one thing, that would be very disrespectful to your friend. And, for another thing, that misses the point. So what if the plant is immature at this stage in its development? Everything has to start somewhere. The point is what it will become. And there’s also a certain joy in watching it grow. The anticipation. The discovery. The unfolding life. Each phase is special. Unrepeatable.
Do we uproot a rose bush in winter because it doesn’t bloom that time of year? That would be pretty stupid. No. We wait for Spring. We long for Spring.
Even if a baby in the womb is underdeveloped, so what? It’s still a gift from God. And it’s meant to be underdeveloped at that stage in its gestation.